Walk 3512 - printer friendly version
Scopwick, Kirkby Green & Blankney Walk
Author - Hugh Marrows
Length - 7.3 miles / 11.9 km
Ascent - 100 feet / 30 metres
Grade - easy
Start - OS grid reference TF069582
Lat 53.110286 + Long -0.40447246
Postcode LN4 3NL (approx. location only)
This walk begins at the North Kesteven District Council "Steeping Out" carpark (grid ref. TF069582) outside the village War Graves Cemetery, dominated by its huge, white Cross of Sacrifice. The cemetery is here is because the former RAF Scopwick (now RAF Digby) is located within the parish. During WWII numerous New Zealand and Royal Canadian Air Force personnel were stationed there so "Commonwealth" graves are in the majority, although five German aircrew are also interred. Also buried here is John Magee, a United States officer, who wrote the well-known poem "High Flight", quoted by USA president Ronald Reagan following the Challenger space shuttle disaster. The full poem is on display in the church.
The church's dedication to the Holy Cross rather than to a saint is unusual. Its oldest masonry is Saxon built into the lower part of the tower. Inside are Early English arcades and a rare stone coffin.
The Rev George Oliver was vicar here between 1831 and 1867. He wrote a book about village life called "Scopwickiana" and in it he tells of the annual "Beating of the Bounds" ceremony. Part of this involved digging large holes around the parish into which village boys were hung head first to make them learn the parish boundary.
Kirkby Green's church is another Holy Cross and dates from 1848 when the earlier church was entirely rebuilt. The east end however is an exact replica of the mediaeval church that it replaced.
The Domesday Book describes Blankney as "Blachene", meaning "Blanca's island". For centuries the village and was owned by the Chaplin family, one of whom, Charles Chaplin (1786 - 1859) had the last Blankney Hall built in the 1820's and also the present village with its remarkable stone cottages. Sadly the hall burnt down in 1945 but some farm buildings and stables survive. His son Henry was an MP and friend of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) who was a frequent visitor.
Blankney's church, St. Oswald's, stands near the former hall site and the lynchgate is dedicated to Henry's wife Lady Florence who died in 1883. Henry and Florence rest together in an unobtrusive enclosure behind the chancel.
The Royal Oak in Scopwick is nearby at the end of your walk and there is a picnic area at a second "Stepping Out" carpark at Blankney.
From the cemetery gate walk to the end of the surfaced lane and turn right past some bungalows to a walled path beside the churchyard into Main Street, Scopwick. Cross the footbridge opposite the church and turn left following the lane to its end. Go through the bridle gate and keep to the right up a field edge. At the corner go left and at a footbridge cross it onto a field path going diagonally leftwards to a waymark in a hedge.
Cross a track and maintain your line over the next field to reach another waymark beside an electricity pylon seen ahead. Cross another track and head in the same direction towards some distant trees. As you come nearer you will see that they form two woods. Aim to the right hand corner of the first one where a waymark sends you leftwards to a footbridge. Once over this turn left along a farm track following to join a road.
Turn left and walk to the ford at Kirkby Green. Go past the church and turn right at the junction with Main Street (B1191) then bear left round a bend. When the road bends right keep forward on the footpath to the left of the hedge in front of you. Continue to a footbridge, cross it and turn right.
The headland path soon passes trees and goes left at the waymark in the field corner. At a footbridge join a track and turn left along it for approximately a mile. At a junction turn left and at the next junction go right; this track soon swings left and then right again. At a footpath sign for a cross-path turn left over a stile where a meadow path leads to the Blankney Stepping Out carpark. (Grid ref 075606)
Walk through both parking and picnic areas to a fenced path and bearing left continue to a stile on your left. Don't cross but turn right through trees to the road and bear left into Blankney village. At the "T" junction with the B1188 go left passing the former hall entrance to reach St Oswald's church.
Cross the green onto an estate road and pass the former hall stables and walled garden. When the road goes left follow the track ahead, which bears right and then left past a wood before cutting through a hedge. Follow the track to a waymark at a right-hand bend.
Leave it here keeping ahead to a bridle gate and stile and join a green lane. In another 150 yards Scopwick cemetery and carpark will be to your right.